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Syrian Orthodox patriarch vows to remain in Damascus

Catholic World News - August 05, 2013

Despite a recent suicide bombing that took place near its headquarters, the Syrian Orthodox patriarchate has no plans to leave Damascus, the Assyrian International News Agency reported.

Citing concerns for the church’s “legal and legitimate rights,” the patriarchate said in a statement that “there is no plan to move the official residence of the Apostolic See of Antioch from Damascus to any other place. Moving the seat is something that Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, as well as the holy synod of the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Syriacs worldwide, refuse.”

The Syrian Orthodox Church, which ceased to be in full communion with the Holy See following the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451, has 500,000 members in Syria and an additional 1.2 million members in India, according to the Catholic Near East Welfare Association.

The Syriac Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, has been headquartered in Beirut for nearly a century.

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